#Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and other senior Democrats released a new Government Accountability Office report finding that the Bush Administration spent more than $1.6 billion in public relations and media contracts in a two and a half year span.
"The government is spending over a billion dollars per year on PR and advertising," said Rep. Waxman. "Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush Administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States."
We don't know how much of this stuff is covert, but can Congress shut this crap off? or don't they even have the power of the purse any more? Is this a "high crime and misdemeanor? what is?
"It is unbelievable that the Administration, on several occasions, has used limited taxpayer dollars to secretly promote initiatives such as No Child Left Behind, while underfunding money for our schools, books, technology, and after school programs," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.
Democrats requested that GAO conduct the study after evidence emerged last year that the Bush Administration had commissioned "covert propaganda" from public relations firms.
The Department of Defense spent the most on media contracts, with contracts worth $1.1 billion. The Department of Health and Human Services spent more than $300 million on these contracts, the Department of Treasury spent $152 million, and the Department of Homeland Security spent $24 million during this period.
The Administration's public relations and advertising contracts spanned a wide range of issues, including Administration priorities like "marriage-related research initiatives," message development presenting "the Army's strategic perspective in the Global War on Terrorism," and an FDA contract to warn the public of the consequences and potential danger of importing prescription drugs from other nations.
GAO's accounting of the Bush Administration's public relations and advertising contracts is limited. GAO surveyed only seven of the 15 cabinet-level departments, relied on self-reported information from the agencies, and did not include subcontracts, task orders on existing contracts, or public relations work done by government employees.